The powers-that-be released the 2015 NFL schedule on Tuesday and the Cincinnati Bengals benefited with four primetime games this season.
Browns at Bengals (Week 9, Thursday Night Football, NFL Network): The Bengals will host the Cleveland Browns in a Thursday Night Football rematch that was won by Cleveland, 24-3, propelling the Browns into a first place tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback Andy Dalton infamously generated an amazing 2.0 passer rating, completing 10 (of 33) passes for 86 yards and throwing three touchdowns.
However, things weren't so bad for the good guys. After that embarrassment on Nov. 6, 2014, the Bengals won five of their final seven games and clinched a postseason berth. The Browns would be oh-so Cleveland by only winning one of their final seven, falling to 7-9 on the season.
Texans at Bengals (Week 10, Monday Night Football, ESPN): Vengeance is ours! The Bengals will host the Houston Texans in Week 10, which takes place 11 days after their Thursday Night game against the Cleveland Browns. Cincinnati beat Houston last year 22-13 behind the great rushing attack of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, who combined for 35 attempts, 132 yards rushing and a touchdown.
This will be Cincinnati's first of two Monday Night games but it carries one concern. The Bengals have played their share of games against the Texans in front of a national audience, where defensive end J.J. Watt does his superman impression. Those games, both wild card losses in Houston, didn't end well. Maybe this time the Bengals will wise up and use the Gio/Hill combination even more than last year.
Bengals at 49ers (Week 15, Sunday Night Football, NBC): The Bengals have had a colossal struggle on Sunday Night Football -- losing seven straight since their most-recent win in 2004 against the Miami Dolphins. And of those seven consecutive Sunday Night losses, only two were within one possession.
The Bengals head to San Francisco for a Sunday Night game against the 49ers on Dec. 20. As a fan of Cincinnati, we hate the 49ers for obvious reasons. We. Hate. The 49ers.
Bengals at Broncos (Week 16, Monday Night Football, ESPN): Like the Week 9 Thursday Night rematch, the Bengals will head to Denver for a Week 16 Monday Night rematch against the Broncos, a game that propelled cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick onto the national stage and buried the weak-armed Peyton Manning, The win also gave Cincinnati a highly anticipated reprieve on the national stage.
This time the Bengals will be in Denver, where they haven't won since Nov. 9, 1975.